'What are you exactly? A cop? A Marxist? A gourmet?'
'I'm an ex-cop, an ex-Marxist and a gourmet.'
What I enjoyed most is how Montalban didn't merely dress up a classic mystery with Carvalho's quirks. He informed even his detective's crime solving skills with these same characteristics:
His mind began to fill with the old logic that sought links between cause and effect, between good and evil. But as soon as this logic became demanding and insistent, an alarm bell went off in his head, and he dismissed all the arguments. He wanted nothing more to do with any analysis of the world he lived in. He had long since decided he was on the journey between childhood and old age of a personal, non-transferable destiny, of a life that nobody else could ever live for him, no more, no less, no better, no worse. Everybody else could go get stuffed. He had deliberately restricted his capacity for abstract emotion to what he could get from the landscape around him. All his other emotions were immediate, skin deep.This is a man who uses old copies of Don Quixote from his library of several thousand volumes as kindling so that he can have the comfort of a fire while he eats the bacalhao he prepared. You will sooner see him sauteeing onions and tomatoes than packing a pistol and trailing suspects, though he does his reluctant share of those more typical detective-like activities as well. Carvalho may be nihilistic but Tattoo is entertaining as well as swift-moving. I noticed that there is another mystery set in Buenos Aires. I may try that one next.